Imagine an announcer came on TV and said, “Welcome to the 2008 Bank Telethon. You’ve heard all the horror stories. Now, with the holiday season approaching, I know you’ll want to reach deep into your pockets to lend a hand.”

“I know what you’re wondering: How much should I give? Well, the banks need $250 billion. I know–that sounds like a lot of money to raise in just one telethon. But if each household in America gave just $2000, then we could reach our goal. So let’s get every household in America to pledge $2,000 to the banks so that they can start lending again.”

If that were the announcer’s pitch, would you give the $2,000?

Guess what. You just did. Thanks to Tyler Cowen for the pointer.

It’s a good thing that the banks are getting your $2,000. That will save the economy. If you had given $2,000 to the charity of your choice, that would do nothing to help the economy. Thank our leaders for protecting us from such evil impulses.

UPDATE: Senator Charles Schumer praises the new move.